6 For Your Health

Breast Cancer Stories

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Updated: 11/14/2012 8:39 pm

In today's 6 For Your health headlines... researchers and advocates are working together to find a cure for breast cancer. Robyn Haines shares one woman's story, as she does her part to make a difference.

Jodi Brown, breast cancer survivor: "It was just a whirlwind of scans and what is this, where is it, and what's the treatment plan going to be?"

High school physical education teacher Jodi Brown is a breast cancer survivor. Diagnosed in 2009, just 32-years-old.

She had chemo, radiation, and surgery to get rid of the disease but she wanted to do more. And it all started with Dr. Ramaswamy.

Jodi Brown: "This is what motivates me in the whole cancer world, she sat down, grabbed my hand and she goes you have breast cancer and you're going to be a survivor one day and you can help somebody out."

So this year, cancer free and thriving, Jodi created her own 5k to raise money for the Stefanie Spielman fund. They got $23,000 to help researchers, like her own doctor, create options for future generations.

Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, oncologist: "Every day we are finding new ways to look at the cancer in one patient."

Right now, Dr. Ramaswamy is working on a possible new therapy for tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells. Tamoxifen is a pill that has long been used to treat cancer that depends on estrogen to grow.

Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy: "What is novel about what we have done is a very unique pathway, called hedgehog pathway, cells that are resistant to tamoxifen, breast cancer cells, this pathway is very highly activated."

So they are now pushing toward a clinical trial for an "anti-hedgehog" pill -- a way to stop the cancer cells from becoming resistant to the drug. Researchers are also working on new ways to combat triple negative breast cancer, rare and aggressive, with very few treatment options.

Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy: "We are looking at the same hedgehog compound and we've found some very interesting data there as well as far as triple negative as a target."

They're also looking into parp inhibitors to treat triple negative, which focuses on DNA repair in the diseased cells.

So as long as people like Jodi continue their fight here... the work will continue here. Both sides working together for the same results.

Jodi Brown: "I feel like I'm actively doing something to make change happen."

Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy: "I clearly see that we will cure more and more patients."

The doctor goes on to say that the problem with finding a cure for cancer is that a cancer cell is not constant, and never will be. So every time we get closer, the cell changes and finds a way to get around our treatments.

Experts and survivors say a large problem that needs to be addressed is getting better at prevention, finding out why we get cancer in the first place.

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